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Later Schooling the Right Way

By , Valley Cottage, NY

The public board of education incorporates an early morning schedule from a start time of 7:59(SASS). The time aims to maximize productivity in a day to reach certain goals in the yearly curriculum. However, there are reasons to change that appointed school time. Although short term, in terms of reaching material within a semester, the early start of long hours aims to maximize productivity, it has negative effects. The rigorous schedule promotes various health risks, and can put students at unnecessary risk. In the case of schools, the board’s stance on education being  more is better, yet it fails to drive for efficiency.  With adjustments to our schedule, schools in our country will be more efficient for our students, safer, as well as improved in overall health for students and teachers.

According to the Sleep Foundation, “Adolescents today face a widespread chronic health problem: sleep deprivation”(Later School Start Times). This is attributed on a recent study made that teens average less than seven hours of sleep during the school week, and report drowsiness during the day (Wolfson & Carskadon, 1998). As a result of sleep deprivation, teens develop emotional and behavioural problems that can even attribute to depression and violence(Later School Start Times). Students unnecessarily put their health at risk taking part of our education system, when simply there’s no reason for risk to begin with. Siddhartha in Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse stresses the needs of the individual. He “found: It was the self, the purpose, and essence of which I sought to learn(Hesse, 53). After trying a variety of methods to reach higher learning, he eventually comes to this realization. In all of your education you must first be driven by your self, and past that what’s secondly important is what you aimed to learn in the first place. Looking at these effects, the utmost importance is in examining the cause. The conflict is naturally between students “unmannered” biological necessities and the demands of society.  With a simple revision to our schedule, a later beginning to the school day can uproot all these effects. Adjusting a schedule to that of a later time would simply be the obvious solution. Relevantly noted by Mary A. Carskadon of Brown, “Given that the primary focus of education is to maximize human potential, then a new task before us is to ensure that the conditions in which learning takes place address the very biology of our learners"(Mary A. Carskadon), she stresses the importance of these conditions. By simply shifting time scheduling, we can alleviate many health concerns.

School districts enforce an early day curriculum to enforce overall productivity. Inducing long hours on students and faculty alike, they try maximizing work ethic. Although with good intentions, the system established is certainly flawed. Scientists have researched and found a correlation between “earlier bedtimes, more total sleep, and later rise times—associated with superior academic performance and higher grades”(The Impact of School Start Times on Adolescent Health and Academic Performance). The systems currently in place require students waking up from times on average being 7:30 to 8:00(“Wheaton”). This currently requires students to wake up early contrary to a later rise time, which is associated with success. Although another obvious solution stated is earlier bedtimes, our  curriculum demands students working on a rigorous schedule into late hours. Therefore by adjusting a later starting time, students can sleep later into the morning, when they’re more ready and alert. The proposed solution wouldn’t cut into any of the total hours now if that be a problem. Adjustments to our current academic systems can become more effective with the simple revision of a later start to our day.

Concerns arise from the early scheduling of school districts. Students as a mode of transportation who walk are put at risk in the morning. At a start time of 8(“Wheaton”), students are endangered. The early time restricts the safety the sun brings to vision. Early morning commuters pose a risk to students crossing streets and walking along unlit pathways. By dividing our normal school day to a start time of even nine, it cuts out endangering factors. In some cases, but not all, the shift can help students who normally walk home in sync with the commute of working parents. An unnecessary hazard that students face shouldn’t be a problem to begin with, yet with a simple tweak our systems can protect our students.

Although there are numerous benefits to our solution, there can be opposing views. An argument can be made that the systems in place are appropriate for parents.  The current hours benefit the parents nine to five work schedules(“Doyle”). Although we certainly can’t change our standard eight hour work day, there are certainly ways around this. The argument fails to realize there are various transportation workarounds. Younger children without a doubt can’t walk to school, as that may pose unnecessary risk.  But numerous schools in our modern era have bus systems at the end of the day. Extra curricular activities are even accommodated by later scheduled buses if students desire. Another argument can be made that the systems in place were established long ago, why change now? Similarly in Anthem, the words of man are written “ever since the Great Rebirth, and farther back than that no memory can reach”(“Rand, 19”). But based on recent accounts and studies, all evidence points to a revaluation of our schools. Basing an argument simply because it has been like that since the beginning shows ignorance to your side. Although evidence against the proposition does have its reasoning, there’s evidence that stacks against those viewpoints.

Our education systems drive to raise the next generation. They do so through intensive academic courses that eventually do polish many of us into refined individuals. With this result, many can say that what we have works. Yet through that spectacle we don’t delve deep enough. Individuals move through our education systems for a total of sixteen years, which is a good portion of our lives. Through these years the development of the individual undergoes many unimaginable changes, and right at the heart of it, our schooling, should cultivate an experience that healthily and safely builds upon the foundation of our minds and bodies.




"School Transportation Safety." Encyclopedia of School Health (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
Hesse, Hermann. Sidhartha. Beograd: BIGZ, 1985. Print.

"Backgrounder: Later School Start Times." National Sleep Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
"The Impact of School Start Times on Adolescent Health and Academic Performance." The Impact of School Start Times on Adolescent Health and Academic Performance. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
"A. Academic Performance." The Impact of School Start Times on Adolescent Health and Academic Performance. N.p., 10 Jan. 2017. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
Doyle, Alison. "What Is the Average Hours Per Week Worked in the US?" The Balance. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Mary A. Carskadon, PhD, Director of E.P. Bradley Hospital Research Laboratory and professor in Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University School of Medicine
Rand, Ayn. Anthem. N.p.: Anncona Media, 2015. Print.

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